THE ORIGIN AND NATURE
OF JESUS THE CHRIST
On the Nature of Christ
The truth in these latter days has, in some places, fallen in among a class of professed friends, who seek to make a smoother path and a broader way wherein to journey to the heavenly city than that which is already marked out. The progress of truth in the first centuries after the days of the Apostles, was also accompanied by a “falling away” from the purity of doctrine and practice delivered by them. It came very gradually – little by little – but once having begun to step aside from the form of sound doctrine which they had received, they continued to wax worse and worse, until their degeneracy culminated in an organised Apostasy, described in the Revelation as the Laodicean state – a state of lukewarmness and apathy towards the truth and its principles very obnoxious to the Spirit of Christ, as expressed in the sentence pronounced upon that condition of affairs through the Apostle John, in these words:
“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”
Such a slumbering spirit has already crept over the minds of many professing the truth in our time, but in the Advent of the Messiah they will not find a champion to lead them on to glory and honour, as in the case of the Laodiceans in early times, whose leader, (the Emporer Constantine,) first raised them to place and power in the Roman heavens. Those who retain the truth in the spirit and love of it, will in the future alone receive exaltation and honour.
One thing, however, must not be overlooked at the present time – that unity must be maintained among those who remain faithful. Let our striving and contention be directed against the world and its temptations, but let us not weaken ourselves and the power of the Word by internal discord, division, and strife.
Being informed that the minds of some of our brethren are much agitated at present on the important subject of the Nature of Christ, I hope they will allow the expression of a few ideas and explanations for their assistance in arriving at a scriptural understanding of the matter, that we may all arrive at one mind and judgment.
Some parties affirm that Jesus Christ did not possess the Divine nature in any respect; that he was constitutionally a sinner, like any other man, then when a child he was no more than any other child, that when arrived at years of maturity, the Deity saw that his character was good and suitable for His purpose, therefore He made use of him and filled him with the Holy Spirit at his baptism. Others again affirm that Jesus was constitutionally righteous, and incapable of sinning, and devoid of the propensities of our nature. Now, evidently the truth of the matter is not wholly on either position, according to the Scripture. That Jesus was constitutionally good and righteous, there can be no doubt; but that he was incapable of sinning we do not believe. If this were so, there would have been no virtue or merit in withstanding temptation; consequently, the temptation as recorded in the New Testament would have been a useless performance. No character could have been formed or put to the proof – according to God’s established principle in the formation of character, as exhibited in the case of the first Adam – which is, to require obedience to His laws in the face of anything which would strongly entice us to transgress. If the first Adam had not been made capable of transgressing the law of God, there would have been no force in placing him under certain peculiar circumstances to draw upon his powers of physical endurance in the severest manner, in order to test the full powers of his moral resistance.
We cannot fail to perceive, however, in Jesus a much higher grace of moral and spiritual power than the first Adam could have exhibited, inasmuch as the first yielded to the enticements and allurements of pleasure; the second yielded not, even under the greatest pressure of physical suffering – the pangs of hunger gnawing at the vitals – the very life of the body sinking under its effects. We would consider an ordinary man excusable, if, when on the verge of starvation, he should steal to sustain life – but not a Christian, however, in the face of the commandment, “Thou shalt not steal.” But how would we consider a man to stand in the moral scale, who should steal from a principle of covetousness or greed, or laziness? Far below the man who would only steal to preserve life. According to a similar standard of judging, the moral and spiritual power of the second Adam, at the age of mature manhood, far exceeded that of the first Adam, having, however, the same physical nature and constitution – the firstyielding to the enticements of pleasure, the second so established in wisdom and spiritual power as to be quite invulnerable even under the severest pressure. This is fully accounted for, when we come to consider the origin of Christ – his paternity, how he was brought into the world, the circumstances attending his birth. The consideration of this will unveil the mystery concerning nature and constitution, and moral and physical powers.
We learn from the testimony that Jesus was created by the Father out of the substance of his mother Mary, at the time appointed by Jehovah, according as it is written – “When the fullness of time was come, he was made of a woman.” Probably the question might arise to some, as to how he was made of a woman. The question evidently presented itself to the Virgin’s mind, and was explained to her by the angel Gabriel, who told her the manner of its fulfilment – that the “Holy Spirit should come upon her, and the power of the Highest should overshadow her,” and “that Holy Thing that should be born of her should be called the Son of God.” Now we know that as a general thing all children partake of the nature, constitution, and character of boththeir parents. No child is ever wholly and entirely and in all respects like one parent only, and we are not warranted in making an exception to this law in the case of the Son of God. From his mother he derived all the faculties, propensities, and instincts which belong to the nature of the first Adam. As it is written, “He took upon himself the nature of the seed of Abraham, that sin might be condemned in the nature which had sinned;” and also that he might be able to sympathise with our infirmities, and to “succour those who are tempted;” “forasmuch as he also was compassed with infirmity.” “For, in that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.” What a depth of consolation comes to the believer’s heart from these words; that we may feel a common sympathy with him, who now stands as our mediator before the Father, to plead for the weak, the erring, and those who are compassed with infirmity! As the Apostle Paul says, “we have not an High Priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin;” “who can have compassion on the ignorant and them who are out of the way, because he also was compassed with infirmity.” Truly the nature that weighs us down, that clogs our spirit, that oft beguiles us into the way that we would not go, can feel the force of the touching sympathy contained in these words of Paul. Such then was the “body prepared” for a habitation of the Spirit in all fullness – as it is written, “A body hast thou prepared for me,” the body prophesied of from the beginning of the world – the woman’s seed. Isaiah says, “Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
Let those who entertain the conceit that Jesus was the son of Joseph, consider this verse and the prophecy concerning the woman’s seed. And let all those who are of the opinion that the Babe born in Bethlehem, the seed of the woman, had not higher descent, not higher paternity than flesh, mark the words of the ages Simeon, when he said, “Mine eyes have seen the Lord’s Christ.” The communication which the Angel made to the shepherds also contains the same language – “For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour which is Chris the Lord.” Having made this announcement, the angel was joined by a multitude of the angelic host giving glory and praise to God – so fulfilling the words quoted by Paul to the Hebrews, in the first chapter: “When he bringeth the first-begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him,” We see the literal accomplishment of this from Luke’s narrative. The heavenly host did worship him, as soon as he came into the world.
WHAT WAS MANIFESTED?
Understanding now what was the nature of the medium of manifestation, we wish to look more deeply into that which was manifested. What was that which was manifested? Was it merely the natural manifestation of a natural man? By no means. It is written, “He shall be called Immanuel,” that is, being interpreted, “God with us.” This was God manifested in the flesh, for the first time – the beginning of the great mystery, “to the Jews a stumbling block, and to the Greeks foolishness.” Paul says, “Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh.” He is called the “only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” It could not be affirmed of any other man that ever existed before or since, that he was God manifested in the flesh, although the Spirit of God has operated through other media both in word and sign. Some might ask, How was the Deity manifested? We answer, in the character of the Son and his mental attributes. “Behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes. Behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the Lord of Hosts.” We are familiar with the idea of polishing and cutting of precious stones. This stone the Father polished and cut after his own fashion; for it is written of him, “And the child grew and waxed strong in Spirit, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.” The result of this graving was partially developed at twelve years of age – in his being skilled in learning, having never been taught, which was remarked and wondered at by some of his contemporaries.
THE WORD MADE FLESH
The Apostle John, introducing the subject of this great mystery, says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” And the Word became flesh, and dwelt amongst us, full of grace and truth.”
The word of God is the wisdom of God – the thoughts or intelligence of Deity. By this word the worlds were created, and are upheld by the word of his power, and without this word was not anything made that was made. We can see from the Scriptures, that when our earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep, the Word of God was sent forth to commence the work of renovation. In the first place, the Spirit moved upon the waters, then came the Word. What was that Word? “Let there be light, and there was light.” Could light have been formed and caused to shine upon our globe, without the idea first having been conceived in the mind of Deity, and then the idea being put into effect by or through the word of his lips? Surely not. This word of wisdom is personified in the Proverbs of Solomon, thus:
“I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.” “The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before His works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning or ever the earth was. When he prepared the heavens, I was there; when he set a compass upon the face of the deep, when He gave to the sea His decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment, when He appointed the foundations of the earth; then I was by Him, as one brought up with Him, and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him, rejoicing in the habitable parts of the earth, and my delights were with the sons of men.”
This style of speech is as though the word of wisdom had taken up a distinct and separate existence, apart from the author of its being, which being only a figure of speech, as used by Solomon, did actually become a fact, as recorded by the Apostle John –“the word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Jesus Christ was the wisdom and goodness of God embodied in flesh. Perhaps we will now be able more clearly to understand the meaning of such passages as these: “Lo, I come to do thy will, O God; in the volume of the book it is written of me.” And “before Abraham was, I am.” “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father also.” “I am in the Father and the Father in me.” This was so incomprehensible to the Jews that it filled them with wrath; and they charged him with blaspheming, because he made himself equal with God, in saying that he was the Son of God. But he said unto them – “Is it not written in your law, I said ye are gods?” “If he called them gods to whom the word of God came, say ye of him whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, thou blasphemest, because I said, I am the Son of God?” Paul also describes him as being the brightness of his Father’s glory, and the express image of his person, or character; because “it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell.” (For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” The glory of Jehovah, shrouded in the cloudy pillar which stood between the cherubim and over the mercy-seat, shone forth in cloudless brightness on the day of atonement, in token of remission of sins. But the sins of the Jewish people eventually separated them from the favour of Jehovah; and the glory of the Lord forsook the temple made with hands, and took up its abode in the templenot made with hands, that is, the body of Jesus – this body being the veil which separated the glory from things visible and carnal, or otherwise represented by the cloudy pillar.
Christ’s character as a man, is signified by the spotless innocence of a Lamb without blemish. So it became necessary that he should not only receive the Spirit without measure at his baptism, for the purpose of preaching the gospel and working miracles, but that he should also have power within himself to become perfect in all virtue, that he might be found without transgression and without fault from his infancy and childhood – that he might be the Lamb without spot and without blemish. So, from the Deity his Father, he inherited wisdom, thought, intelligence, elevation and purity of character – extraordinary power of intellect, and moral courage and endurance, which enabled him to fathom the depths of human understanding, even at a tender age. Being aware of his divine origin and mission, at twelve years of age, and perhaps before, he was able to discuss matters pertaining to the law with men of years and education, professed doctors of divinity. Thus we see that he displayed, even in the years of childhood, wisdom and knowledge inherited from his Heavenly Father. “Being the son of God, he thought it not robbery to be equal with God,” as all children are, in a certain sense, equal with their parents.
THE NATURAL ILLUSTRATES THE SPIRITUAL
Let us never lose sight of this valuable method of arriving at an understanding of the deep things of the Spirit. It will aid us materially in our investigations.
Jesus is said to be the “first-born of every creature” – “the beginning of the creation of God.” From the premises already before us, we will understand that he is the beginning of the creation of a new order of beings, developed out of the race descended from the old, or the first Adam. The world now governed by the principles of the old Adam, or the fleshly mind, is in a state of chaos. It is “without form” (all in confusion) and “void” of any principle that can safe them from destruction; and “darkness was upon the face of the waters” – or, the multitude of people inhabiting the earth. The purpose of Deity, as revealed in His word, however, is to bring a new order of things out of the old – to people the earth with a race of immortalized beings, upon the principle of faith and obedience to His word. The word and character of Deity was sent into the world for instruction and example, personated in the man Christ Jesus, that all who believe in him might become like him, sons of God, by having the wordimplanted in their understandings – so becoming new creatures, or a new creation in mind, waiting to become a new creation in body, after the renewing of the mind is completed.
Our present inquiry being directed towards the manner in which Jehovah commenced operations in the beginning of this new creation, we take our illustration from the beginning of the creation of the natural world. The “Spirit moved” – the thought formed, the word came. God said, “Let there be light – intellectual and moral light, spiritual light; and the Apostle John testifies that , “In him was life: and the life was the light of men;” “and the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not.” John said also that he was sent to bear witness of that Light. “That was the true Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name, which were not born of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
In studying human character, we find that the inward thoughts, judgment, or intelligence is something different and distinct from the desires, affections, and propensities. All these are right and good in their proper sphere, when directed and circumscribed within certain limits prescribed by the law of God. If the judgment is clear and well regulated and controlled with the Word of God, it will entirely subjugate the desires and affections, and only allow them a certain limited scope. This, however, is a state of mind never completely attained to by us who are born after the flesh by the will of man. Jesus being the word, thought, or intelligence of his Father, consequently the will of the flesh was far more subjugated and subdued, and he was not liable to be led away by excited impulses and perverted desires. The desires of his nature were in a natural state, such as those with which the first Adam was endowed at his creation. Some of the first Adam’s descendants, however, have so nourished and cultivated those propensities, (which in their simplicity are good enough,) that they have become perverted and altogether unnatural.
In the consideration of this or any other subject of Bible doctrine, we should seek to harmonize all the passage bearing upon any particular point, and not accept some and reject others, which, (to our limited comprehension,) seem to convey opposition of meaning when in reality there is no contradiction, but a beautiful harmony when rightly put together.
DEITY MANIFESTED IN FLESH
Until nearly 430 years after the typical confirmation of the covenant made with Abraham, (Gen. 15), the Deity was known to his servants only by the name of AIL-Shddai, the Strength of the Mighty Ones. But when the time had come to being Israel out of Egypt, the Elohim of the Deity were sent to Moses to inform him, among other things, of a new name by which he was pleased to be known to his people. In answer, then, to the question, What is his name? The Deity said to Moses by his Elohim, ehyeh asher ehyeh, I WILL BE WHO I WILL BE, and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, EHYEH hath sent me unto you. The Elohim said moreover to Moses, Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel EHYEH hath sent me unto you. The Elohim said moreover to Moses, Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel, YAHWEH, Elohim of your fathers, Elohim of Abraham, Elohim of Isaac, and Elohim of Jacob, hath sent me unto you. This is my name leolahm, for the hidden time, and this is my memorial, ledor dor, for a generation of the race.
In the name and memorial thus revealed at the bush, the Deity declared that he would be a person, or persons, not then manifested. He announced to Moses that HE was the Mighty Ones who had appeared as “three men” to Abraham, and as “a host” to Jacob; but that at a future period HE would manifest himself in others, even in persons of the Adamic race. Hence, in view of this new manifestation, and to keep it constantly in remembrance he imposed upon himself the name of EHYEH, “I will be.” And this name of the Deity was to retain its import in a certain time hidden in the future. The time when it shall no longer be memorial is not yet arrived. It is to continue for the Olahm – for that epoch when “He who is, and who was, and who is coming,” “shall come with the clouds, and every eye shall see him; and all the tribes of the earth shall wail before him” (Rev. 1:7). When this terrible crisis is passed, the ascription of chapter 26:5 “Thou art righteous, O Lord, who art, and wast, and SHALT BE,” will be anachronous, for it will be no longer “shall be” on earth seeing that he will then be here, and “reigning on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously” (Isa. 24:23).
The word asher in the memorial is the relative pronoun who; and is both singular and plural, masculine and feminine. It stands therefore for a multitude, as much as for one person. Yea, it is clear that a multitude was intended, by reference to the parallel text in Exodus 6:7, where the Deity commanded Moses to say to Israel, “I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you for Elohim; and ye shall know that I am YAHWEH your Elohim.” The Elohim here indicated in the aggregate are “the generation of the race,” in which the Deity will manifest himself by “the Seven Spirits before the throne.”
In regard to this term Ehyeh, etymologically and orthoepally, I may remark here, that it is the first person singular of the future tense of the verb hayah, “to be or become.” It does not mean, and never did, what it is made to signify in the English Version, i.e., “I am.” The Deity did not give himself this name; but, on the contrary, said, “My name is I WILL BE; and by this name I was not known to Abraham;” nor to anyone else till he revealed it at the bush. Yet it appears in the second chapter of Genesis, and in the history of Abraham; but this happens because of the compiler of those accounts – that is Moses – being acquainted with this new name, and introducing it wherever it was appropriate.
The English versionists have suppressed the name of the Deity wherever in their opinion it was not specially emphatic, and have substituted for it Lord, which does not at all express the sense of the original. Where they have thought the name emphatic, they have represented Ehyeh, in its subsequent form, by “Jehovah,” which they have only introduced nine times, though the Hebrew word occurs so often, that the citation of the texts occupies seven royal octavo columns of nonpareil.
The form of the name which subsequently prevailed over Ehyeh, is pronounced Jehovah, according to the Masoretic pointing, invented five hundred years after the time of Jesus. But all philologists and theologians are not agreed, that Jehovah is a spurious pronunciation. It was devised by Jewish superstition, which did not permit an Israelite to pronounce this sacred name correctly. They have another word, Adonai, “lord, ruler, sovereign” From this they took the signs or points, and attached them to the Hebrew word, thereby giving to it the incorrect orthography, “Jehovah”. All critics, however, are now agreed that the true pronunciation of the word is YAHWEH, which they predicate on the fact of the word used in Exodus 6:2,3, being the old form of the third person, future tense. Yah is the same in a contracted form, and is used of the Deity upwards of fifty times; one of which exhorts us to “extol him by his name YAH.”
YAHWEH or YAH, as a noun, and signifying “He who will be,” is then the memorial name the Deity chooses to be known by among his people. It reminds them that HE WILL BE MANIFESTED IN A MULTITUDE; and that, in that great multitude which no man can number, or all nations and kindreds, and people, and tongues, which shall stand before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands (Rev. 7:9) – in each and every one of them “He will be the all things in all” (1 Cor. 15:28);, or, as it is expressed in Ephesians 4:6, “there is one Deity and Father of all, who is upon all, and through all, and in you all.”
The Deity, then, in a multitude is a conspicuous element of apostolic, as well as of Old Testament teaching. It is not “One God in three Gods,” and “Three Gods in One;” but one Deity in a countless multitude, revealed in the memorial name, and expounded in the mystery of godliness. The knowledge of this mystery was lost sight of by the Babel-builders of the third and fourth centuries; who, as a substitute, invented the Athanasian conceit of THREE PERSONS IN THE DIVINE ESSENCE, coeternal and coequal. They bound up the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, three distinct persons, into one person, or body; and called the fiction, “the Triune God.”
They did not perceive that the Deity was but one person, and one substance, peculiar to himself. One Deity, and not three; that Holy Spirit is an emanation from his substance, intensely radiant and all-pervading; and that, when focalised under the fiat of his will, things and persons, without limit as to number or nature, are produced.
This multitudinous manifestation of the one Deity – one in many, and many in one, by his spirit – was proclaimed to the Hebrew nations in the formula of Deut. 6:4 “Hear, O Israel, YAHWEH our ELOHIM is the ONE YAHWEH;” that is, “He who shall be our Mighty Ones is the One who shall be.” Certain Mighty Ones are promised to Israel – “pastors according to YAHWEH’S heart who shall feed them with knowledge and understanding” – they will be spirit, because “that which is born of the spirit is spirit.” He, the Spirit, the Ail, or Power of the universe, self-styled YAHWEH, is their Divine Father. His nature will be theirs, so that they will be consubstantial with Him, as all children are consubstantial with their parents. The Deity will then be manifested in the Sons of Deity; he in them, and they in him, by the one spirit. And this company of sons, led to glory by the captain of their salvation, is “the ONE who shall be,” or “the ONE YAHWEH.”
Of these sons, or Elohim, One is “the Firstborn” – “the child born, and the son given” (Isa. 9:6). He is Eloah in chief, “the Head of the Body;” in whom it pleased the Father that all the fullness should dwell,” that among all he might have the pre-eminence.
This ELOAH is the great theme of prophecy. His manifestation was predicted in the promise of the Woman’s Seed (Gen. 3:15), in Isaac (ch. 21:12); of the royal Shiloh from Jacob (Num. 24:17); of the Divine Son assured to David (2 Sam. 7:14); born of a virgin, (Isa. 7:14) and to rule upon his throne (Isa. 9:6,7). In these testimonies it was revealed that he should be both Son of man and Son of Deity. How this could be otherwise than is related in the New Testament would be impossible to devise. “Is there an Eloah without me?” saith the Spirit: “Yea, there is no rock; I know none” (Isa. 44:8) The manifestation, therefore, must be by the spirit of the Deity, or not at all. The time of manifestation was appointed and placed on record in Daniel 9:25; and “when the fulness of time was come, the Deity sent forth his son, made of a woman;” begotten not of blood, nor the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of the Deity; by holy spirit coming upon her, and power of the Highest enveloping her; therefore also that holy thing she bore was called a Son of Deity, and named JESUS – Luke 1:35, 31.
Thus, “the Logos became flesh, and dwelt among us,” says John, “and we beheld his glory, glory as of an only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth;” for “the law was given through Moses; the grace and the truth came through Jesus Anointed” (Jno. 1:14, 17). Now, “Theos was the Logos,” says John; that is, Deity was the Word; and this Word became flesh in the manner testified. Was the product, therefore, not Deity? Did the union of spirit with flesh annihilate that spirit and leave only flesh? Was the holy thing born a mere son of adam? Or “the fellow” and “equal” of the Deity – Zech. 13:7; Jno. 5:18; Phil. 2:2. The latter unquestionably.
After this manner, then, THE ETERNAL POWER of Yahweh, became flesh; and commenced the initiation of his promise, that he would be to Israel for Elohim. The chief Eloah was now born; and as the STAR OF JACOB, cradled in a manger, received the homage of the wise, and the acclamation of the heavenly host. This babe was the “body made in secret,” through which “the Eternal Spirit,” when it should attain to “the fullness of the times,” designed to manifest himself. The time had arrived “when Jesus began to be about thirty years of age.” He was now to be “sent forth;” “being made under the law, that them under the law he might purchase from it, that we might obtain the Sonship” (Gal. 4:5). His sending forth was subsequently to his immersion, and preceded by his anointing with holy spirit. Though born “YAHWEH’S handmaid” six months after John the Immeser, John said of him, “after me cometh a man who hath been preferred to me; for he was before me.” Isaiah styles him Yahweh and Elohim, in his prophecy concerning John as “the Voice” that was to herald his manifestation; saying, “Prepare ye the way of Yahweh, make straight in the desert a highway for our Elohim” (Isa. 40:3). The Father was one Eloah, and Jesus was another; so that in this unity were developed two, who, in the Hebrew plural are termed Elohim. Here, then, was a practical illustration of the phrase, so often occurring in the scriptures of the prophets, “YAHWEH Elohim,” most incorrectly rendered in the English version, “Lord God.” Based upon this combination of holy spirit and flesh, Jesus said to Nicodemus, “I say unto thee, WE speak that we do know, and testify what we have seen; and ye receive not OUR witness.” Here was plural manifestation in unity. This is abundantly evidenced in all the New Testament. Hence, on another occasion, Jesus said to the Jews, “I and the Father are one” – one what? We are, in the words of Moses, “One Yahweh.” The Jews, “who judged after the flesh,” were indignant at this, and attempted to stone him for blasphemy; saying that, “because being a man he made himself Deity.” But Jesus rebuked the charge of blasphemy with an argumentum ad hominess which was unanswerable. “Is it not written in your law, I said ye areElohim and Sons of the Highest, all of you?” (Psalm 82:6). If He (the Deity) called them Elohim to whom the word of the Deity came, (that is, to their fathers,) and the scripture cannot be broken; say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified and sent into the world, “Thou blasphemest” because I said, I am the Son of the Deity? – Know that the Father is in me, and I in Him;” – and that “he who hath seen me hath seen the Father” (Jno. 10:30, 14:9).
Such discourse as this was an impenetrable enigma to the Jews. They did not recognize that “the words they heard were spirit,” (Jno. 6:63). They judged after the flesh (ch. 8:15) and therefore imagined that his words were flesh, that is, the mere utterances of the thinking of the flesh. But he told them that this was not so; for he said, “My teaching is not mine, but His who sent me;” and John also testified that “he whom the Diety hath sent spake the words of the Deity,” as Moses had predicted in Deut.18:18, concerning the Christ, saying, “I will put my words into his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall be, that whosoever will not hearkened unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.” And so when the Word became flesh, the Word-Flesh recalled attention to what Moses had written, and said, “He that rejecteth me and receiveth not my words … the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken of myself, but the Father who sent me, he gave me a commandment what I should say, and what I should speak” (Jno. 12:47) – “the words of eternal life.”
The words, then, that came out of the mouth of Jesus are to be received as the direct teaching of the Eternal Spirit, and to be interpreted of him. When, therefore, the utterance saluted the ears of the disciples, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father,” the Eternal Spirit was communing with them from the Mercy-Seat, from between two of the Cherubim upon the Ark of the Testimony (Exod. 25:2). He was speaking of himself, and not of the flesh which he had anointed. That flesh was the caphporeth,coverlid, or propitiatory, to be sprinkled with blood, as the result of the condemnation of sin unto death in the flesh (Rom. 8:3). It was the Veil, which, in regard to the Elohim, Jesus and his Brethren, divides their present and future states. It was the veil rent in twain by the stroke of death, in which the Eternal Eloah forsook the Eloah Jesus, and they continued “twain” until his post-resurrrectional ascent to the Father (Jno. 20:17).
Such was “the Faithful Witness,” as he was before he was “perfected” on the third day (Luke 8:32). He came into the world to bear witness to the truth that he is King of Israel; to this he was faithful unto death by crucifixion; in which he bare in his own body the sins of all who through him become the Elohim of Israel, whether by nature Jews or Gentiles (1 Pet. 2:24). When these come to know the Deity, and to believe his promises with honest and good-heartedness, as initiated in Jesus, and to do his commandments, they obtain participation in “the Sonship,” and become, even in this present state Elohim, or sons of the Deity. In view of this moral manifestation of the Deity in flesh, termed by Peter the Divine nature, one of these Elohim, writing to others of them, says, “Behold, what great love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of Deity. Because the world knew him not, therefore it doth not know us. Beloved, we are now children of Deity; but it hath not yet appeared what we shall be: nevertheless, we know that when he may appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And everyone having this hope in him purifies himself even as he is pure.” (Jno. 3:1). “We are now children of Deity.” He is manifested in them through the truth affectionately and righteously believed. If “the truth as it is in Jesus” be in men thus, Christ, who is the truth is in them; for “the spirit is the truth” (1Jno. 5:6); which comprehends the exceedingly great and precious promises given to us, that by these heartily believed, they may be partakers of the Divine Nature (2 Pet. 1:2-4).
THE DEVELOPMENT OF A NAME
From the premises before us, I presume that the reader will have perceived the development of “A NAME” – a name of Deity. The name is a divine manifestation. The Eternal Increate manifested in Jesus by holy spirit. This manifestation is expressed in the formula of “the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”(Mat.28:19). This is the name which is above every name, and embraces everything attributable to the Father and the Son. To become an Eloah, a believer of the right stamp must be immersed into this name. He will then be “in the name;” and consequently, “in Deity the Father and the Lord Jesus Anointed.” A multitude may be in this name contemporaneously. They in Deity, and Deity in them, by faith and obedience. Thus, the name which comprehended only two in the beginning, becomes “a great multitude which no man can number.” And in reference to these, Jesus, in the days of his flesh, said to his Father, “I have manifested thy name unto the men (the Apostles) which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they are, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. I have given unto them the words that thou gavest me, and they have received them. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me. Holy Father, keep them in thy name whom thou hast given me, that they may be ONE even as we. Sanctify them in thy truth; thy word is truth. I pray for them also who shall believe through their word into me; that they may all be one; as thou, Father, in me and I in thee, that they also may be ONE IN US, that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one even as we are one: I in them and thou in me, that they may be made PERFECT IN ONE” (Eureka, Vol 1, p. 104).
“THE NAME OF JESUS THE CHRIST”
In our remarks on “Jesus,” referred to above, we have spoken of the etymology of this name. We repeat that it signifies, “He shall be;” and in the form ami Yahweh, signifies, “I, the Spirit, am He who shall be.” The individual who “was to be” – he who was promised to Eve in Genesis 3:15; to Abraham in Genesis 15:4; 21:12; to Judah in Gen 49:10; to David in 2 Sam. 7:12-14; Isa. 9:6-7 was the personage indicated by YAHWEH He shall be, styled in Hebrew, “the Messiah;” in Greek, “the Christ”; and in English, “the Anoint3d.” Now, the Spirit said by the prophets, “I shall be he;” and here, in the apocalypse, we find the Spirit and Jesus speaking as one.
Now, the “Seed of Abraham,” genealogically considered, must partake of Abraham’s nature; must partake of flesh and blood. The Spirit, therefore, in effect said, I shall become flesh and blood. But how could this be? The answer to this, is that the fact depends not upon our ability to explain the mode in which spirit may be elaborated into flesh and blood. The Bible testifies that all things are out of Deity, who is spirit. The Eternal Power formed Adam out of dust. Spirit is the basis of all created things; and according to the will of the Creator, becomes rock, dust, sea, vegetable, and animal, in all their diversity of form and beauty. All the resurrected who shall be approved, will become spirit; “for that which as been begotten of Spirit is spirit:” begotten subsequently to their post-resurrectional appearance at Christ’s tribunal. If, then, flesh and blood thus become spirit, (and some flesh and blood will become spirit without tasting death, Paul says), why may not spirit become flesh and blood? It is but a reversal of results from a change of process.
The name, then, in connection with the testimony of the prophets, indicates a conversion of Spirit into flesh and blood, developed by the formative power of the Eternal, independently of and apart from the will of man. In the case of the first Adam, spirit, as it were leaven, mingled formatively with dust, and a flesh and blood man was developed, styled “Son of God;” but in the case of the second Adam, spirit acted upon the nervous system of Mary, as it had previously done upon Sarah, and Hannah, but to a further degree (for in these, it had only imparted strength for conception according to nature) in that it operated germinatively upon the contents of Mary’s ovarium; and caused an ovum, or “seed of the woman,” to be deposited in her womb. Here, as the spirit-germ of the second man, it remained the usual “se time,” subject to the laws of the animal economy. At the appointed time it was born the babe of Bethlehem; and duly named Jesus, or “He shall be who shall save,” both “Son of God” and “Son of Man,” which the first Adam was not. Adam was Son of God and Son of the Dust; Jesus was Son of God and Son of Man, being a creation of the Eternal Power from the substance of David’s daughter.
Such was the babe Jesus in preparation for the Sacrificial Man. His germination was irrespective of the lust of the flesh, the propensity exited in the first Adam by his guilty companion, and of which Cain was the fruit. In this particular, the generation of Jesus was different from that of all other men. If Joseph had been his father, he would have been born of blood, of the will of the flesh and of man instead of the Spirit. He would have been son of Man only, and not Son of God, and consequently would not have answered to the testimony of the name.
The Yahweh-Name, then, presents itself to us in prophecy and history. To Israel it is incommunicable, so long as they reject Jesus; for he is the historical and practical personal illustration of it. The Yahweh Name in prophecy comprehends the things concerning the Christ in his birth, life, sufferings, resurrection, and glory. To understand the Yahweh-Name as exhibited in the writings of the prophets, is to “know the joyful sound,” to believe “the gospel of the Deity which he had promised before by the prophets in the holy scriptures,” concerning his Son the Christ, made of the seed of David according to flesh, and constituted son of Deity in power according to spirit of holiness (Rom. 1:14) and to understand the same name historically and doctrinally expounded, as it is in the New Testament is to understand “the things concerning the kingdom of the Deity, and the name of Jesus Anointed” of the Spirit (Acts 8:12).
In the teaching of Jesus, “the name,” “the gospel,” and “the kingdom of the Deity,” are interchangeably used. Thus, in Matthew 19:29, he saith that everyone who forsaketh anything “for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundred-fold, and shall inherit aion-life;” in Mark 10:29, he says that there is no man that hath left anything “for my sake and the gospel’s but he shall receive an hundred-fold in this time with persecutions; and in the coming Aionlife aeonian,” and in Luke 18:29, he says, there is no man that hath left anything for “the kingdom of the Deity’s sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this time, and in the Aion to come life aeonian.” Hence, to hold fast the Spirit’s Name, and not to deny his faith, is to be “rooted and grounded in the faith, and not to be moved away from the hope of the gospel,” as in the case of the Pergamians. They were suffering tribulation for the kingdom and glory of the Deity, tow which they had been invited by the gospel of the name they had obeyed. The held it fast as their hope; and as Pliny testifies, no power or terryr could compel them to abandon the position they had assumed in regard to it.
Not so, however, the Satan; they did not hold fast the name and did deny the faith. As we have seen in treating of the Nikolaitanes, they denied that Christ had come in the flesh, the consequence was that they logically rendered the Yahweh-Name ineffectual to the remission of sin for if Christ did not come in the flesh and blood nature common to all mankind, the condemnation of sin in the flesh which had sinned, as represented in the lambs slain from the foundation of the world, could not have occurred when he was crucified, and moreover, if his body had not been identical with ours, he could not have borne the sins of his brethren, the saints, to the cross. The denial of his true and proper humanity made him logically unfit for a sacrificial man, by whose stripes obedient believers should be healed.
The sin covering efficacy of the Yahweh-Name depended upon the person bearing it being a flesh and blood Messiah, for, “without the shedding of blood there is no remission.” The spirit plainly testifies this in the prophets and apostles. In Leviticus 17:11, he saith, “I have given the blood to you upon the altar for a covering upon your souls; for the blood itself shall cover the soul.” The reason given for blood being thus used is “because the soul of the flesh is in the very blood.” The soul, nephesh, or life is in the blood. The blood contains, or covers it, as it were, and as it is a question of life or death – that is appointed to cover sin which covers life, namely the blood. In this sense, “the life, or soul, of all flesh is the blood thereof;” because the vitality of all animals is in the blood. Hence, a bloodless man could not, upon the principles of the divine law be a covering for sin. He must have real blood in his veins containing life, as in redeeming flesh and blood nature from death, he had to give the same sort of life for the life to be redeemed.
Now the blood of Jesus was more precious than the life blood of any other man. If it had not been so, it would have been inadequate to the purchase of life for the world. The Spirit testifies in David, that there is no man rich enough to redeem his brother, nor to give God a ransom for his soul that it should live forever, and not see corruption; “for,” he says, “the redemption of their soul will be costly, and it ceaseth to the Olahm” (Psa. 49:8). If the wealthiest be impotent for the redemption of one soul, how precious must the blood of the Yahweh-Name be, seeing that it can ransom “a great multitude which no man can number!” (Rev. 7:9). The blood of Jesus was the only blood of all the generations of Adam, that had not been generated by the lust of the flesh; and which had not energized a man to the commission of sin. Jesus was an unblemished man, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; for, “he was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners.”
This precious “blood of sprinkling, which speaks better things than the blood of Abel,” the sanctifying blood of the covenant shed for the remission of the sins of many, (Heb. 12:24, 10:29, 22; Mat. 26:28) is the principle which makes the Yahweh-Name sin cleansing, or a covering for the hiding of sin, so that the believer upon whom then name is invoked, may have “no more conscience of sins,” or, as Peter expresses it, may have “the answer of a good conscience toward God” (1 Pet. 3:21).
The purifying or sanctifying property of the Yahweh-Name being connected with bloodshedding, as prefigured in the law, necessitates the death of him who becomes the medium of its manifestation. The prophetic testimony is direct upon this point. “Thou, O Serpent,” said the Spirit, “shall bruise the heel of the Woman’s Seed” (Gen. 3:15). And this seed was to come out of Abraham’s son, as it is written, “in Isaac a Seed, shall be chosen for the;” and to show that he was to be a sacrificial man, the Elohim told him to “offer him for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of the land of Moriah which should be shown.” In obedience to this command, Abraham travelled with Isaac a journey of three days, until they arrived at the mountain where the temple afterwards stood. He laid upon Isaac the wood upon which he was to be bound, and led him as a lamb to the slaughter. Having erected an altar, he laid him thereon upon the wood, and took the knife to slay him. This he would have done, but for the interference of heaven. God ordered him to spare Isaac, and to finish the offering by slaying a ram in his place.
The release of Isaac was a resurrection to life – a type of the future literal resurrection of the Seed to descend from him (Gen. 23:12, 22:6, 9, 13). This was the death of the Yahweh-Name bearer represented to Abraham dramatically. It taught him, that the Seed to be chosen for him, who was to “possess the gate of His enemies, and in whom all the nations of the earth shall be blessed,” should suffer a violent death, and then rise again to fulfil his destiny. Abraham saw this, and therefore named the place of the offering YAHWEH-YIREH, He who shall be will provide – “in the mount Yahweh shall be seen” (vs 14).
The prophets are full of testimony illustrative of this remarkable representation. “The Song of Zion” treat largely of the sufferings of the Spirit’s name. The Spirit in David says, “they pierced my hands and my feet” (Psa. 22:16); and “he shall be filled with iron and the shaft of a spear” (2 Sam. 22:7); and in Daniel 9:26, “Messiah shall be cut off;” and in Isaiah 53, speaking of the Deity’s “righteous servant,” the Spirit saith, “Yahweh has caused to lay upon Him, the iniquity of us all … for the transgression of my people was he stricken; when thou shalt make a trespass-offering of his nephesh, soul,” or life, “he shall see a seed … through his knowledge shall my righteous servant make a justification for many; and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will apportion to him among the great and the mighty; he shall divide the spoil; because that he hath poured out his nephesh or soul (contained in the blood) unto death.”
Such was to be the Name of the Christ in fact and doctrine – a personage, the descendant and antitype of Isaac, in his sacrifice and resurrection, who should be the Sin-Bearer and Justifier of his people, through their belief of the things, or knowledge concerning him. When Jesus appeared, and was crucified and rose again, the Yahweh-Name was no longer absolutely a testimony to be fulfilled; it became a living reality – the Truth Incarnate; and, “the name of Christ” became “the Name of Jesus Christ;” and all that is predicted of the Spirit’s Name is to be fulfilled in Jesus and his Brethren.
The New Testament treats very largely of the mystery of the Name. After Jesus rose from the dead, and before his assumption of the right hand of power, the kingdom and the Name were especial topics of conversation between him and his disciples. They understood the doctrine of the kingdom better than of the name, until he opened their understandings that they might understand the scriptures of the prophets (Luke 24:45). These in regard to the death, burial, resurrection, and the assumption of the Name-Bearer, and the doctrinal use to be made of them, had been hid from their eyes (Luke 18:31-34). But when he had risen, the time had come to remove the veil, which still remains upon the understandings of all who do not comprehend “the truth as it is in Jesus.” “O fools,” said he to tow of them, “and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken; ought not the Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:25). On a subsequent occasion, when all of them were convened, he said, that according as it was written in the prophets, “it behoved the Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead on the third day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached IN HIS NAME among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (vs 44-47). “In his name” is here an all-important phrase, for apart from this great name, there is no repentance nor remission of sins for Jew or Gentile. “There is salvation in no other; for,” continues the Spirit in Peter, “there is none other Name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12) and again, he said, “to Him gave all the prophets testimony, thatwhosoever believeth into him shall receive remission of sins THROUGH HIS NAME” (ch. 10:43). The Name is expressive of a personal existence “among men”. In its first sojourn here, though it was the Deity’s Name, it was a name of no reputation; it was without rule, being the name of a servant, of a humiliated, oppressed, and afflicted man, absolutely obedient to the will of the Deity, even unto the death of the cross. Wherefore “God also”, says Paul, in Phil. 2:9, “hath highly exalted him, and given him a Name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow of heavenlies and of earthlies, and of subterraneans; and every tongue confess that Jesus Anointed is Lord, to the glory of Deity the Father.
In this highly exalted name are repentance and remission of sins alone to be found. A man may be ever so intelligent in the Scriptures, ever so excellently and piously disposed, ever so firmly convinced of “the truth as it is in Jesus,” still, if he have not been added to this name – if he have not laid hold upon it according to divine appointement (and in no other way can it be laid hold of) – he is the subject neither of “repentance” nor “remission of sins;” and furthermore, if having laid hold of it, he follow not the example of the faithful in Pergamos, and hold it fast, the Spirit will “fight against him with the sword of his mouth.”
By grace men are saved, through faith that works by love, and purifies the heart (Eph. 2:8, Acts 15:9). Assuming then, that a sinner “believes the things of the Kingdom of the Deity and of the Name of Jesus Anointed;” and that he has fallen in love with them; and that, loving what he believes, and the effect of this affectionate belief, or “believing with the heart,” has been to alienate his affections from “the pleasures of sin,” and “earthly things, and has caused him to set them upon the things anew, or exalted, where the Christ is on the right hand of the Deity sitting; assuming this to be the state of his mind and disposition, he is then in a condition to receive repentance, and to be saved from his past sins, and to obtain a right to eternal life, through the Name of Jesus Anointed, who is “the Lord the Spirit.” But, if the sinner have not this affectionate belief, he can receive nothing through the name; because he has no faith for justification, and no disposition such as Abraham had, to be reckoned for repentance. Without the faith that works by love and purifies the heart, it is impossible to please the Deity.
On the day of Pentecost, in the thirty-sixth year from the birth of Jesus, Peter addressed three thousand Jews, whose understandings and affections had been thus prepared by the things they believed. When they asked Peter, saying, “What shall we do?” he replied, not knowing as yet, what their convictions were, “Change ye your mind, and every one of you be immersed upon the Name of Jesus Anointed INTO remission of sins. They were to be immersed upon, and for the name of Jesus Anointed; because the gospel of the kingdom was preached to them to separate them from that evil generation of Israel “for the name;” as it was afterwards preached to the gentiles for the same purpose – “to take out of the nations a people, for the name of him” (Acts 15:14). They were immersed “for” this name that they might constitute a part of this name; for it is a name of a multitude, all of whose constituents are IN Jesus Christ; in other words, “in Deity the Father, and the Lord Jesus Anointed” (1 Thess. 1:1). For a sinner, then, affectionately believing the truth, to be “immersed for the name,” is for him to be added to the name of Deity; that, when the Divine Name is complete, he with Jesus may be manifested in power and great glory. “The righteousness of God through Jesus Christ’s faith for all, and upon all the believing” (Rom. 2:22).
John Thomas, compiled by Eusebia Lasius, 1868